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Engaging Culture and Community: Club Spotlights throughout 2016

If you are a NAClubs.org veteran, you know that we like to share the successes of programs, staff members, and Club kids from Boys & Girls Clubs in Native Lands. If you are new, you will quickly find that recognizing and celebrating successes of Clubs is very important to us. This year has seen a wide array of triumphs from Native Boys & Girls Clubs from coast to coast in a multitude of areas. Community and culture has coincidentally been a common theme across the Spotlights shared.

Cultivating culture for future generations has been on the forefront for many Clubs and Chief Executive Officers. Physical activity and culture has been one way Clubs have been able to actively engage youth in connecting with their culture. Hoop dancing, for example, was an exciting way that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale incorporated culture into programming. Hoop dance is one form of visual storytelling that can be done recreationally and even competitively. It has been an outlet for 20 youth from the Lehi Branch to connect with their family and culture. Are you interested in learning more about hoop dancing? Check out how the Woodland Boys & Girls Club has integrated traditional dancing and singing to connect to culture. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud also found ways to connect their youth with their Lakota culture by getting Club kids outside and moving. In Mission, SD, eight Club kids from the Club’s Hiking Club were invited to hike in the Welcome Back the Thunders ceremony which takes place in the sacred Black Hills. Elders, community members, and Club kids alike participated in the hike and sat down for a meal together to complete the ceremony.

Boys & Girls Clubs have seen support from their local community just as they have supported the community surrounding them. The Boys & Girls Club of Brookings- Moody County Unit held community wide events, organized by their AmeriCorps VISTA members, to fundraise for the Club and engage the community in physical activity. Youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Missouri River Area also engaged the community through orchestrating a walk called the March Against Meth. Clubs kids created a group, Native American Youth Standing Strong, that meets weekly to brainstorm activities to create awareness about drug prevalence and goals to meet throughout the year. Lumbee Boys & Girls Clubs also helped their community during a time of dire need. During and after Hurricane Matthew, Clubs supporting the Lumbee Tribe housed supplies and feed local community members whose homes were being ravaged by the storm.

Wow, what a busy year! Thank you to all of the Boys & Girls Clubs that share successes and events throughout the year. It is always a joy sharing the good deeds that are happening daily in and around your Club house. We look forward to continuing sharing your best practice throughout 2017!